Our 20 week scan yesterday prompted me to write this post. I have a weird relationship with sonograms. It's hard for me to explain, but here goes.
Back in 2008 when I was first pregnant with Brodie I was offered a 12 week dating scan which we gratefully accepted. It was a chance to confirm for real that there was a baby in utero, a way to make it all seem real and not just my overactive imagination and wishful thinking, which honestly I believed it might be despite the two pink lines. And even though I was pretty sure I knew when my due date would be, it was nice to get some confirmation.
It was also incredibly emotional. A tiny heart flickering on the screen was the sweetest hello of my life. It was relief and joy and falling in love in an instant. I can remember seeing the same reflected on Greig's face and realising this was real for him too.
At that time our area didn't offer anomaly scans so we didn't have a 20 week visit to that weirdly temporary, dark room. I just carried on attending midwife appointments and got on with life. I carried around the print outs we had from the 12 week scan and looked at them all the time. And then our baby was born, pink and blonde and perfect. I remember looking into his little face and feeling like I'd known him all my life. Probably because he was, even then, a carbon copy of my husband, but still I'm sure all those months looking at the little grainy, jelly bean from the images helped me to feel close to my baby while carrying him.
in 2011 we had a dating scan again and I felt like I'd been handed another image of Brodie. The profile was identical, spookily so. Again it was a lovely experience, we were lucky enough to be expecting another healthy baby. This time around though we were offered a 20 week anomaly scan which we went ahead with.
I remember vividly waiting on the plastic chairs in the same waiting room. Only this time I was trying to keep breathing through the rising sense of panic in my chest. I had barely slept the night before. I couldn't put my finger on why I was so worried this time. I was fighting the urge to leave the watiting room. I felt like if I refused to let the sonographer look inside she wouldn't find anything frightening which wouldn't lead us down a road I couldn't even bear to think about. I wanted to protect the baby, my baby from prying eyes.
I didn't run away, I had the scan. It was painful and uncomfortable and my blissfully unaware baby would not move into the preferred position so I had to walk around the hospital then return for more warm jelly wand waving. Maybe I'm not remembering accurately but I remember feeling the sonographer was very cold and business like and I didn't feel comforted by the knowledge that all appeared to be developing normally I just wanted to get out of there as soon as possible.
I think I had worried myself into a frenzy. And it was hard to shake off. When in reality I was lucky to have had the scan and everything appear to be well I started reading about the alleged dangers of prenatal ultrasound. it was not an experience I wanted to repeat and I wondered why I'd gone ahead with it when I'd had such misgivings. Of course Grier was born and all my worries faded, washed away by the arrival of a healthy, perfect baby.
And then today, we had our 20 week scan for baby number 3. I'm delighted to tell you that the sonographer didn't find anything worriesome. We saw the baby cross their feet and tug on the chord which joins me and them. And you're wondering why? If I was so upset last time why go ahead this time?
Well I'm three years older. And being older raises the likelihood of potential fetal abnormalities. We've had 2 healthy babies so far, it seemed almost obscenely presumptive to expect another. This is more than likely our last baby so I'm trying (really trying!) to enjoy every part of this pregnancy while I can.
But mostly I just can't imagine that the discovery of anything would change our feelings about this baby. Our baby, which already has a place in this family. Already has siblings who regard it as 'theirs'. If an abnormality had been found today it might have been important for the health professionals who look after us to know, might have changed our care. But it wouldn't have changed our family.
Of course I'm only 20 weeks pregnant, there is a road to travel and not everything can be detected by ultrasound. But using the knowledge available to us, as far as we know, things should progress as normal and all being well, soon we will be a family of 5.
Some parents do refuse monitoring by ultrasound and I understand why that might be. But this time we chose to have it and I'm glad we did, even if it was only for the chance to catch a quick look at what is hidden inside.
I'm interested in other's experience, too few, too many, didn't give it much thought?